Category Archives: Poetry

Eric’s Presents

Eric’s Presents

It’s not even October

But I’m excited

Deliriously excited

I want to be Eric’s Secret Santa this Christmas

I need to be Eric’s Secret Santa this Christmas

I know I will

It’s only right

It’s my right

It’s my duty

We both have been plagued by that tormenting goblin of the psyche

Soul-numbing sadness

The demon on our shoulder

Clinical Depression

But I know what I’m going to get him

Turtleneck sweaters

In whites greys shells and tans

Penny loafers

Like Mister Rodgers

Made of the finest Italian leathers

Lovely trousers

Steampunk styled

Or in the clan tartan


Also tartan

And perhaps a Burberry

Blazers and Jackets



Fit for a captain of a ship

Or an archduke of a small European nation

Beautiful enough for all occasions

Spatterdash boots

Of Victorian tradition

To make him a gentleman fine

Dress shirts

Of the most dreamy of Oriental silks

In the most grand jeweled colors

From Crown Chakra Amethyst Purple

To Life-Blood Ruby Red


In whimsical patterns

Dots and Spots

Stars and Suns

Smiley Faces, too

So he may smile again when he wears them

A pair or two of lavish palmless gloves

So he may be dapper


Like a marquis of a steam-powered Rococo France

Argyle socks

Of masculine blues





And purples most royal

The 10th Doctor’s coat

For some extra dashing

And maybe the 11th Doctor’s coat

If I do not get the beautiful thing for myself

Caps and hats

Driver’s caps





All styles and fashions

That all handsome aristocrat boys of the technology era could ever want or need to keep in fashion

A waistcoat or two

For a touch of formality

And sweet regality


Not purely ornamental

And also not the cheap hipster kind

A pocketwatch

So he may be the master of his time

And drink in all moments

And not waste a drop of the day’s river

And a fragrance

A scent signature

So he may say

“The Duke Eric of Fairfax has arrived

You may grovel as you please”

Maybe leather and oakmoss

Maybe Dark chocolate and musk

Maybe mint and ginger

I have time

I can figure it out

But there are other things he needs too

Things that he needs to be a courtier

A modern noble

A true gentleman


The Iliad

The Odyssey

The Works of Poe and Dickinson

And maybe a poem or two I wrote myself

A history of many countries

And a dangerous book

Filled with all sort of things for young men to do

A manual on how to stabilize his chakras

So he can feel inner peace

A handkerchief

For those situations when someone is crying

So he may offer a shed of concern for them

An army knife

And a medic kit

So he’s prepared always

Whatever else I can find

To take him from angry boy

To ducal young man

Who is knowledgeable in all things important and beautiful

And still able to smile on things frivolous

And if I get him these objects

I know he will be at least a little happy

For even if the evening of Christmas Eve comes

And he opens the box and says

“Thanks for the crap”

I know he will take at least one of the hats

Likely a fez

He will try it on

And smile for at least a millionth of a second

And I know that my task is complete

That he will grow a bit more

And become an archduke

Of all fanciful and wonderful practices

– Kayla Gastony, 2nd Place in Poetry

Banquet of Crumbs

Banquet of Crumbs

So enamored with our fanciful illusion

As we recline on separate couches

The glare from the television

Piercing the nocturnal haze


Safe with the conjurer’s hand

We dance our psychic tango

Intoxicated with the belief

That the shields work just fine


Elated to once again slip away

From that other universe

Twelve miles from here

Where my wife gently slumbers


Here is our banquet

Cork crumbs in the zinfandel

How can we possibly know

That this will be our last supper?

– James Stephens, 1st Place in Poetry

When I Find Myself Oppressed

When I Find Myself Oppressed

my tongue is molasses

and sticks to the roof of my mouth

like flies on rubber cemented paper


my tongue is thick

and chokes me when I speak


my tongue is red

and burns from where it’s been

bitten silenced held back


I should very much like

to cut out this thick, sticky, red tongue

and watch if it wriggles

and see the red hotness

drip from my mouth


– Anna Schroeder, 1st Place in Poetry

The Rowhouse

The Rowhouse


twenty years under one rock.

the moss of home

collected around our treasures

and cabinets too full to hold our medical histories


i was searching

for my ticket across the sea

just patiently checking the mail each day for an o-kay


when suddenly

my life stood still

like the feeling of

looking up at

our tree outside


only just


it was forest tall


– Jessica Redmiles, 2nd Place in Poetry

I’m Grateful I Didn’t Sing That to You

I’m Grateful I Didn’t Sing That to You

I’m grateful I didn’t sing this to you. You would’ve left me.



To rest. together

at the sunset

of a long, day’s ache,

with the weight

of all the tomorrows

on both shoulders,

and take in

the intoxicants

of your caress…


It happened when we were watching the sinking sun through our bedroom window

and just lying there you made me think of oil paintings.

Thank God I didn’t sing this to you. You would’ve left me.

Or worse, you would’ve told all your friends.


You make my nerves sing.

Sing more…

More than if they hadn’t been

Stripped down, bare

From heartless ex-lovers

Over and over again.


Perhaps I’ll discreetly record it, and pay a lawyer to give it to you in the unlikely event of my death.

Perhaps my hopeless hidden melodrama will provide some consolation. You might think: well it least I never had to worry about the look on my face when he sang THAT to me.

As silly as it sounds it’s about returning spring and you, and for now I’m calling it Sweet Exhaustion.


The green is coming back,

and the rain is getting softer,

and I’ll take my leave

of suffering,

and taste the air

of our sweet exhaustion…


– David J. Bausch, 1st Place in Poetry

The Surfman’s Song

The Surfman’s Song

Along the cold and lonely coast

In storms the surfmen wander

Watching for the sailing ships

That flounder in the water

Through lonely, cold and stormy nights

The surfmen watch the tide

For if a ship wrecks on the coast

They go out to rescue lives

On a bitter winter night

A storm batters the shore

The surfmen huddle round the fire

As the wind rattles the door

Their comrade bursts into the room

The snow thick on his coat

And in a breathless voice he says

“There’s a ship wrecked off the coast”

The keeper jumps up from his chair

A grimness in his eye

“Come boys, we have work to do!”

He glares up at the sky

“Go fetch the boats!” he orders now

“Though the night be chill and black,

Our orders say we must go out

Nothing ’bout coming back”

They drag the boat down to the beach

Where the waves crash on the sand

They push the boat into the surf

As the wind stiffens their hands

Then to the ship the surfmen row

Though the sea fights with all her might

For on the wind the sailor’s cries

Call them into the night

The waves crash hard and thundering

The wind shrieks shrill and long

The snow flies down in flurries chill

Rain freezes where it falls

But the surfmen still pull on their oars

And pay no heed to the gale

Seven sailors need their aid

In the snow, the sleet and hail

They reach the ship that’s going down

And pull the sailors in

Then back to shore they set their sights

And row into the wind

They come to shore and to their fire

To rest upon the land

The keeper still is looking out

In case they’re needed ‘gain

Along the cold and lonely coast

In storms the surfmen wander

Watching for the sailing ships

That flounder in the water

Through lonely, cold and stormy nights

The surfmen watch the tide

For if a ship wrecks on the coast

They go out to rescue lives

Tuppence Van de Vaarst (2nd Place in Poetry)



Pedal reflectors glowing,

like an opossum twinkling eyes,

the last vision we saw,

before their bodies came smashing,

through the windshield.


It’s been sixteen years,

since we were fooled by that opossum.

before that sheet of glass and flesh imploded,

toward us.


More afraid of what was known,

than what was not, we approach the darkness

to find, like road kill, two contorted,

lifeless bodies.


In the still of the night, no sign of life,

On the other side of the highway,

Death stands nearby.

– Nick Williams

Up the Duff

Up the Duff

And so it would seem she’d built a cocoon…

deep in the heart of her belly.


Don’t let her hands fool you.

Though her palms are soft and her fingernails manicured,

the labor endured during its construction took both sweat and strain

and twists of the body that left her gasping for air.


Yet truth be told,

were payment offered for the mortal production

one-half of the commission is all she’d know.


She only goes to church for Christmas and Easter.

In her fanciest high neck dresses and with bows in her hair,

she goes go to look after her soul,

in case He actually exists.


But she hit her bony knees on the cool tiled floor

In the middle of an inconsequential

and otherwise boring week.


In a torn and faded t-shirt and cotton white panties,

she prayed over the small blue cross

as it fell from her clasp to the ceramic squares.

Head bowed, fingers intertwined,

and with pointy elbows resting on slender thighs

she begged Him instead for the symbol of subtraction.


There was no answer,

no heavenly exoneration.


She trembled as she told the more tangible him;

the him whose boots had done the knocking.

He grinned like a fish at the news

and took just two days

to walk away in those same scuffed up boots.


Down the road,

and many documents later,

she reaches her hand out

to empty bellied boot knockers

and sterile silk spinners.

With a gentle smile and a soul at peace,

her concluding signature sends the signal.


Let the butterfly bidding commence.

– Sara McClung (1st Place in Poetry)